An Ashburton-based farm consultant says dairy farmers need to earn the right to operate and produce milk.
Andy MacFarlane told the South Island Dairy Event at Lincoln University that farmers do not have the freedom to expand milk production as they would like.
The South Island dairy industry has grown rapidly over the past 10 years and now produces 40% of New Zealand's total milk supply.
Mr MacFarlane says dairy farmers need to educate the public about what they are doing to earn its respect.
He says the public will play a big part in determining whether there will be any future growth in the industry in the South Island.